As the final minutes ticked off the clock at Ravenel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Academic Magnet striker Jonathan Glenn’s thoughts quickly drifted to the next round of the playoffs.
Academic Magnet (20-2) had dispatched Barnwell, 4-1, in the Class AA Lower State semifinals as the Warhorses had proved to be little more than a speed bump for the Raptors.
Glenn, who scored two goals during the match, knows the Lower State finals won’t be so easy. In the regular season, the Raptors struggled to beat Waccamaw, their next opponent in the Lower State championship game. Waccawaw beat Bishop England, 4-1, later on Saturday.
“This was a good win, we took care of business, but I was starting to think about Bishop England or Waccamaw in the second half,” Glenn said. “That’s going to be a great game. We’ve got to the Lower State final last year, but lost and we don’t want that to happen again. We’re hoping we can get over the hump this year.”
From 2004-10, the Raptors made it to the Class A state title game four times in six years only to lose to Christ Church each time. A year ago, the Raptors moved up to the Class AA classification only to be ousted by Bishop England, 1-0, in the Lower State final.
“We’ve been close in the past, especially in Class A, but we have not been able to get over the hump,” said Academic Magnet coach Jason Hamil. “We’ve been close to breaking through a couple of times, had a really good game against Bishop England last year in the Lower State final, but now it’s about just going out and getting the job done.”
Hamil said this is the deepest and most talented team he’s had in the last nine seasons.
“I think every year we’ve gotten a little bit better,” Hamil said. “I think overall this is the best team we’ve had, certainly the deepest team we’ve had. This is our first 20-win season and hopefully we can add one more accomplishment this week.”
The Raptors had possession of the ball for huge chunks of the match, allowing the Warhorses just four shots on goal.
The Raptors put on a passing clinic in the first half, scoring two goals within the first 15 minutes of the match from Glenn and midfielder Davis Michaelsen on a penalty kick.
Academic Magnet pushed its advantage late in the first half as Glenn and Matt Houle gave the Raptors a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Waccamaw 4, Bishop England 1 Waccamaw knocked off Bishop England, 4-1, in a Class AA Lower State semifinal match at Jack Cantey Stadium.It ended the Bishops’ reign as state champs and marked the first time since 1997 that Bishop England will not play in the state title match.
The Bishops had won six of the last seven state titles entering the season. They finished with a 15-7-2 record.